Fourteen and Counting…

While last weekend may have marked our two month anniversary in Chengdu (click here for that commemorative post), this Wednesday marks yet another anniversary- the fourteenth of our marriage. Fourteen years ago, at the tender age of nineteen, I married an older man. (Okay, he was all of twenty-one. We were babies. I admit it.)

In honor of this annual event, I received a care-package from Idaho a few weeks ago. (It was the first package to be shipped our way, so without knowing how long that process would take, said package joined the rank and file of boxes heading from the US to every corner of the world at an early date. The early bird may get the worm, but the early package gets a skip and a hop and a little squeal of joy in the mail room. It’s the trifecta of excitement!) When the box arrived two weeks before our actual anniversary, I originally planned to set it on a shelf and wait for the big day to roll around, but I quickly found an excuse to not be patient! After picking the box up from the consulate mail area, in order to get it back to my office inside the consulate, I had to open the box as a security measure. Sheryl Crow wisely informed us that the first cut is always the deepest, which holds true not only in the world of heartbreak, but also when it comes to opening presents. Once that initial slice through the packing tape created a peak into the recesses of the cardboard box, it was all over. Package open.

This year’s anniversary goody package included beef jerky for Thad (not my idea of a treat, but he was quite pleased with it), tasty Idaho Spuds for us to share (four out of four of which I ate), fabulous summer plastic plates for our house (very much appreciated, as we are still living off of the welcome kit provided by the consulate, which means we have a veritable Noah’s ark of kitchen goods-two plates, two bowls, two cups, two forks, two spoons…you get the idea) and a couple of new shirts for me (desperately needed, as the few work clothes I bought are quickly getting tiresome, evident in that when I wore the new black and green shirt to work, I had no less than three people comment on the fact that I had something different on!)

But, as super-de-dooper as all of those goodies were, it wasn’t what was in the package that was important, nor even the fact that a package came, but the sentiment behind it. The fact that my parents, each year, acknowledge the anniversaries of the wedding dates of each of their three children and their spouses shows what a high premium they place on those unions.

As of September, my parents will have been married for forty-two years, so there is no doubt they understand what it takes to make a marriage last. In their four plus decades together, they’ve both worked to put the other one through undergraduate and graduate programs, they’ve raised three kids who turned out okay if I do say so myself (!!) and they have served their community through a variety of church callings and volunteer positions.  They’ve done all of this side-by-side, as each other’s best friends.

If one went looking for a role model when it comes to marriage, the search could stop at the home I grew up in.

The fact that my parents have spent more than forty years together and are happy is a testament to the value they place on their relationship. The fact that they now recognize that same united spirit in their children’s marriages with dried and cured meat products and puffed marshmallow goo covered in a thin layer of chocolate-goodness, sprinkled with coconut flakes is just an added bonus!

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